Friday, October 23, 2020


I must admit that my first contact with pumpkin was baked sweet pumpkin, served warm and lightly dusted with cinnamon, around Christmastime. Yet, the humble pumpkin is much more than that. Although notably famous for pies, is incredibly versatile and delicious in savoury dishes, too, especially in soups and stews.
Soups are one of my favourite meals to prepare, purely because they are so simple to make, so effortless, yet almost nostalgic and rewarding. This is one of my autumn classics, enriched by lightly caramelised onions, garlic, ginger, and smoked paprika, rich and delightfully creamy; the definition of colder weather comfort food.
The pumpkin has a distinct hearty, earthy flavour that makes this soup almost sweet at the first spoonful, but with a delightfully piquant aftertaste. I find it is best served immediately, still quite hot from the stove, with extra crispy croutons and a few slices of whole-wheat bread.
If not making it vegan, feel free to add a splash of double cream after letting the blended soup boil once more, casually stirring it through before dividing into serving bowls.

1 kilogram sweet pumpkin, peeled and seeds removed
200 grams carrots, cleaned
2 tablespoons light olive oil
1 large sweet onion
1 large garlic clove
1 ½ teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon sweet smoked paprika
½ teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon black pepper
½ teaspoon chilli powder, optional
1.2 litres vegetable stock, hot
fresh parsley, for garnish

Start by preparing all of the vegetables for the soup. Dice the onion, crush the garlic, and dice the pumpkin and carrots into similarly sized pieces. Take a large pot, add in the olive oil, and let it heat up over medium-high heat. Add in the onion, and cook for about 10 minutes, until fragrant and translucent. Add in the garlic and sauté for only a minute, and then add the pumpkin and carrots.
Cook everything for about 10 minutes, until the pumpkin starts becoming slowly softer, add in all of the spices, mix everything for 30 seconds, and then pour in the hot vegetable stock. Let it come to a rolling boil, and cook until the pumpkin and carrots are tender, about 15 minutes. Using an immersion blender, carefully blend the soup until completely smooth and creamy, and return it to the stove to come to a boil once more. Taste and adjust the seasoning, garnish, and serve immediately. Yields 6 servings.